Insight into Potassium’s Role in Childhood Mortality Due to Severe Acute Malnutrition in Mohamed Alamin Hamid Pediatrics Hospital, Omdurman, Sudan.
Hypokalemia is associated with an increase in mortality in children with severe acute malnutrition and diarrhea. This study is aimed to assess the prevalence of hypokalemia among children with severe acute malnutrition admitted into Mohamed Alamin Hamid Pediatrics Hospital, in Omdurman, Sudan and to understand the influence of hypokalemia and potassium supplementations contributed on the children survival rates.
It was a descriptive cross-sectional retrospective study conducted in the Nutritional Ward at Mohamed Alamin Hamid Pediatrics Hospital in Omdurman, Sudan. The duration of the study lasted between January-December 2015, covering over 215 patients with severe acute malnutrition and acute diarrhea. The potassium levels of all patients were assessed upon hospital admission and this correlated with the mortality according to the degree of hypokalemia and treatment initiated.
In the study, hypokalemia was evident in (70.2%) of patients. Mortality was (3.1%) in normokalemic and (13.9%) in hypokalemic patients. The patients’ survival was significantly associated with their serum potassium levels and the treatment received. The survival rates have been assessed via the Multinomial Logistic Model, which reveals that normokalemic children had a chance of 157.349 [95% CI 18.479-1339.811] times higher than that compared to the baseline children with advanced hypokalemia with serum levels <2mEq/L (p-value<0.001). Children with mild, moderate and severe hypokalemia have the survival chances of 549,35 and 39 times higher than that compared to the baseline children. The statistical significant association between treatment received and patients’ survival when serum potassium is less than < 2mEq/L.
In patients with severe acute malnutrition, who presented with acute diarrhea, there was an increase in mortality in patients with hypokalemia compared to with patients who presented with normal potassium levels. Correspondingly, mortality rates increased significantly with the severity of hypokalemia. In severe hypokalemia there is a significant difference in mortality between patients treated with oral rehydration solutions (ORS) for malnutrition in relation to patients treated with oral potassium supplements or with intravenous potassium.
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